City school bus driver, aide fired after pupil is left on bus

Special-needs child found asleep on seat

September 07, 2001|By Erika Niedowski | Erika Niedowski,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore school bus driver and his aide were fired yesterday after they left a sleeping special-needs child on a bus.

The employees of Victory Transportation, who were not identified, did not perform the required bus inspection after dropping off pupils at Edgecombe Circle Elementary School in the morning and beginning another route, said Valencia D. Baker, the school system's director of transportation.

"They were dismissed, and I'm not sorry about it, either," she said.

The bus company also was stripped of five of its 20 routes, Baker said.

Baker said the girl's classroom aide called home when she didn't show up for the second day of school and was told by her mother that she had boarded the bus. The school called Victory Transportation, which in turn called the driver while he was on a later route and asked him to check the bus. The girl was found asleep on a seat. Baker said she was unhurt and was returned to school on the bus.

Under school policy, bus drivers and attendants are required to inspect the bus at the end of every trip to make sure no child has been left behind.

Last year, a 6-year-old blind girl from Baltimore spent several hours in a locked bus on a deserted lot guarded by attack dogs before being rescued by police.

The driver of that bus and his aide, who worked for Kim's Bus Service, also were fired, and the bus company lost some routes.

Six other children have been left on buses in the metropolitan area in the past two school years, prompting several dismissals.

In Baltimore County, officials have installed on buses a "child-reminder" system that uses flashing lights and a horn to remind drivers and their attendants to check for overlooked children.

Baker said officials are evaluating whether a similar system might be used in the city.

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